March 8, 2009 – my 35th birthday – will be the first day of service between MSP and Chicago Midway (MDW) by Southwest Airlines. Southwest’s introductory pricing was announced today: $69 each way on 21+ day purchases.
I took a look at how that compares to Northwest. Here is what they have listed for 1-ways to Midway for March 8th:
Compare to Southwest:
Southwest doesn’t charge for your first two checked bags (NWA and Delta are both now charging for your first checked bag).
The $149 fare on Southwest is 100% refundable. The business fare includes priority boarding, bonus credits on their frequent flier program, and a free drink (booze).
Of course, you could spend $396 for a seat in the front of the plane on NWA. That comes with free booze too.
UPDATE. NWA has now updated their fare to match Southwest:
Looking at round trips, both airlines are charging $159 for their coach fares for flights leaving March 8 and returning on March 10th.
A Bag Check Scenario
If you were to check two bags, your true costs are:
$159 – Southwest
$239 – Northwest ($15 for first bag, $25 for 2nd bag, each way)
$319 – Norwhwest (same flight with 2 bags before Southwest entered the market)
Looks like Southwest cut our fares in half on this route.
For Chicagoans planning trips to MSP for Mall of America shopping trips, I imagine your $80 per person would be better spent at the mall than on bag check fees.